If you ask any entrepreneur or innovator what is the most important resource to get a new project off the ground, they’ll probably tell you it’s getting the right people. Making something new and making a good buck off of it requires talent, the skills which pay the bills. Have the right team in place and the money will follow.
This is a big part of what is meant by People’s Economics, or the economy of people. What often limits us in a technology driven world is the techne, the skills necessary to make something happen.
That’s where People’s Economics is today. Help prove the point by donating to a GoFundMe project dedicated to getting the book People’s Economics written by the end of the summer!
The suffix -ism is one of those handy things inherited from the versatile Greek language. The original usage was the creation of an active noun from a verb, such as baptism or criticism. It makes an action into a thing, allowing it to become a subject or object.
More recently, this suffix has taken on the use of defining a philosophy, often a political practice. It is a way of taking a series of beliefs or practices and putting them into a box which can be delivered as one unique practice. Far from making an active subject, in practical terms it becomes most useful as a way of preventing any action at all.
The great -isms of political economics are Socialism and Capitalism. The boxes these words describe were fixed long ago and remain rigid. Yet they retain their power to an opposing tribe and thus remain in use. It’s long past time to dump the -isms, useful as this linguistic construction once was.
This post from 2015 addresses just how far away from decency we have strayed by considering money, not people, as the core of the economy.
What is money? Your answer may depend a lot on how much of it you have. Ultimately, the main purpose of money is convenience. A system of barter works pretty well when two people have things each other need – someone with chickens meets up with someone else who recently slaughtered their pig and both have bacon and eggs. But if you can also exchange those eggs for money you can save it up to buy something different or bigger.
As we’ve concluded before, Adam Smith was right – money is a matter of belief. Whether it’s gold, Euros, or Canadian Tire Money it’s worth whatever you believe it is worth. Our own US Dollar is backed by the “Full faith and credit of the US Government”, which is scary if you think about it.
But money is more than convenience and faith – it’s what it takes to make things happen. And that’s worth thinking about some more.
Economics is nothing more nor less than the study of the primary way in which people connect with society and get on with their lives.
In everyday life, you may interact with a few people – family, colleagues, and friends. But through the process of eating and paying the mortgage you interact, at some distance, with hundreds more. Because this interaction is entirely through something called “money,” a way of keeping score, it’s very tempting to look at it entirely through numbers. The dizzying details of tens of millions of exchanges every day makes a top-view in bulk the most desired method of analyzing how things are going.
Yet this process has proven wrong over and over again. The failure of economics, particularly macro-economics, is the primary reason why the only true study of an economy has to be a People’s Economics.
Summer re-run season has me terribly bizzy. This is a repeat from eight years ago which informs the basis of People’s Economics.
The art and skill needed to put knowledge to practical use is more than just what technology is really about – it’s generally seen an increasing share of our economy. The term “Knowledge Economy” comes from Peter Drucker in his 1966 book, “The Age of Discontinuity”. It includes this:
“In a knowledge economy where skill is based on knowledge, and where technology and economy are likely to change fast . . . the only meaningful job security is the capacity to learn fast.”
True enough, since a lot of knowledge applied as an art went to revolutionizing economics itself since that time. But as many of us have learned, the ability to think fast means nothing without the right connections.
The hardest thing to change is often perspective. To see the world from a different angle requires either movement to a new position or an out-of-body experience.
Given how frozen our identities have become in political tribes, it is almost certainly easier to pull someone’s consciousness out their daily routine than to call them over to a new position. Where new perspective is essential to understand radical change in this world, the first step has to be a separation from conventional language and thought. Everything has to be unlearned.
So it is with People’s Economics. Longtime readers will be familiar with the concept that has been developed in real time here on this blog. Now that the camp has been set up in the middle of the dark woods, it’s time to light a fire. People’s Economics is now the Camp/Fire for Barataria, aside from period asides which will in other ways help the promote the general concept of developing new perspective.
As this year develops, the economy is stronger than it has been in a long time. Yet the process of spreading out the wealth and creating strong growth has yet to come together. While there is little doubt that our image of the economy is changing, some important things have not. The most important aspect of our economy, that it works for everyone with some degree of equity, is not changing much. That will keep our politics in turmoil for some time to come.
The reason for this is simple: the US Dollar is incredibly strong and is likely to remain so for years. This means that manufacturing, the life blood of the heartland, will not return soon. The anger over this, blaming China and Mexico and everything except the automation and accumulation of wealth which really drives it, will certainly continue.